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wrong. But in the nation of Israel, even when rejected, and most dreadfully punished, for crucifying Christ, persecuting his church, and opposing the gospel,* there was an elect seed. Millions, I speak with confidence, many millions, of that scattered race, will yet become true christians, and blessings to the world at large. Upon what other interpretation of the passage, could the preservation of a remnant, of the unbelieving Jews, from death, be "for the elect's sake, whom he hath "chosen?"+
P. ccxiii. 1. Note. 'It appears, &c.' This note seems very well founded: but how can it agree with the elect, here signifying christians? For the calamities which befel the Jews, not the persecutions to which Christians were exposed, were evidently meant: indeed this is allowed in The Refutation. The preserving of a remnant of Jews, was a distinct thing from the temporal preservation of Christians.
P. ccxiii. 2d Note. The words, &c.'s The words, "the elect," in this verse must mean either true christians, or those chosen to salvation: for the context rélates not to those who destroyed men's lives, but to those who seduced and deceived them with false doctrines, and lying pretences and miracles. St. Paul doubted whether all his exertion would enable him to
1 Thes. ii. 15, 16.
† Mark. xiii. 20.
+ It appears from the context, that the word "saved" does not here ⚫ relate to eternal salvation, but to preservation in this world.'
§ 'The words of the original, « duvzlov, Matt. xxiv. 24, do not imply phy⚫sical impossibility, but only a great degree of difficulty: thus St. Paul "hasted, if it were possible for him, a duvalov av aula, to be at Jerusalem "the day of Pentecost," Acts 20. v. 16.— the thing itself was possible, but it ' required exertion, and St. Paul did all he could to accomplish it. In like ⚫ manner it was possible for the elect to be deceived, and it was here pre⚫dicted by our Saviour, that the false prophets would do all they could to ⚫ effect it, "to bewitch those, that they should not obey the truth, before "whose eyes Jesus Christ had been evidently set forth."
reach Jerusalem before Pentecost. The thing itself was possible, if winds and waves, or pirates, &c. did not prevent it. He must do his best; but a storm or a shipwreck, might defeat his purpose. It was also possible, for the elect to be deceived;, nay, they would be deceived, if God did not prevent it. But the words of our Lord, show, (as we think,) that God had engaged, to prevent it; and therefore it was not possible for the seducers, to deceive the very elect; as if God had engaged to give the apostle a safe and speedy voyage and journey to Jerusalem. "With all, deceivableness of "unrighteousness in them that perish, because they re"ceived not the love of the truth, that they might be "saved.-Who believed not the truth, but had plea"sure in unrighteousness."* It was possible and easy to deceive persons of this character: but not those, who had "received the love of the truth, that they might be "saved;" who believed the truth, who hated sin, and loved righteousness; because God would preserve them from fatal delusion.
P. ccxiv. 1. 18. Immediately, &c."+" The elect"‡ most obviously denotes those, who were previously chosen, and, in consequence, were called by the preaching of the gospel. In what other sense, could they be "his elect," before they were actually gathered into the church?" He should gather together in one, the "children of God that were scattered abroad" "That is, those whom he had predestinated to the adoption "of children by Jesus Christ unto himself, according
2 Thes. ii. 9-14.
'Immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem he will send his messengers or ministers into every quarter of the world to preach his religion, who will gather into one holy Catholick Church all who shall embrace and 'sincerely believe it.'
+ Matt. xxiv. 28-31.
§ John xi, 52.
"to the good pleasure of his will."* They who be 'endued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called ' according to God's purpose, by his Spirit working in 'due season.' So that there is firm ground for con'sidering the elect, here spoken of, as persons selected by an irreversible decree of God for salvation in the 'life to come:' and it has been repeatedly shown, that 'such an idea is perfectly reconcilable with the cau'tions, which our Saviour gave his disciples on this oc'casion;' for he who purposes the end, appoints also the means by which it shall be attained: and his precept, not his decree, is the rule of our duty.
P. ccxvi. 1. 12. 'Not the, &c.' No other intimation of the decree of God is here given; unless the words, "the elect of God, holy and beloved," imply the source of the special character and blessedness of the christians at Colossè. But their salvation is not 'spoken of, as depending on themselves,' at least in this passage. In the other text, which is quoted, it is indeed inseparably connected with their "continuance in "the faith:" for none except those, who "endure to the
end, shall be saved." The only question is, Whether we ought to depend on ourselves, on our own hearts and resolutions, or on the promises, faithfulness, and grace of God, in respect of this "continuance in the faith," this "patient continuance in well doing," to the end of life. Self-dependence is not inculcated in Scripture, but directly the contrary. "The heart is deceitful
Eph. i. 5. See also John x. 16. Acts xviii. 10. 2 Thes. ii. 13, 14, † Art. xvii.
Not the slightest intimation is given of any decree of God by which ⚫ their salvation was made certain; but, on the contrary, their salvation is re• presented as depending upon themselves, upon their "continuing in the "faith, grounded and settled, and not moved away from the hope of the gos "pel."
Prov. iii. 5. xxviii. 26.
§ Col. iii. 11, 12. VOL. I.
¶ Col. i. 23.
"above all things:" how can we then depend on it? "Who are kept by the power of God, through faith, "unto salvation."* O Lord God, who seest that we 'put no trust in any thing that we do, &c.'t They, "who do not continue in the faith," resemble the hearers represented by the seed sown on stony ground, who "had no root in themselves;" not those," who, receiving the word in an honest and good heart, keep it, and "bring forth fruit with patience."‡
P. ccxvii. It is readily allowed, that the election, spoken of in the passage to which this page refers;§ does not relate to a future life, but to the election of 'the descendants of Jacob to be God's peculiar people, ' in preference to the descendants of Esau.' The character of Esau, is marked with sufficient disapprobation in Scripture; but concerning his final doom we know nothing: nor is it implied in the words, "Esau have I "hated;" as might easily be shown, if that were our subject. But does not the apostle adduce this instance, as an illustration of another election, concerning which he was treating? Certainly the illustration, and the subject illustrated, cannot both be precisely the same, Now the subject to be illustrated was this: "They are not all "Israel, which are of Israel." There was then an Israel within an Israel: one elected to outward advantages, another elected to eternal life. A race chosen collectively; and from among them, a remnant of this race chosen personally. The illustration is taken, from the Lord's not choosing all the posterity of Abraham and Isaac; but, passing by the descendants of Ishmael and Esau, confining the promised blessing to the posterity of Jacob. In the case of Isaac, Abraham's only son by
* 1 Pet. i. 5. Rom. ix. 10-13.
Col. for Sexagesima Sunday.
+ Luke viii. 4-15.
Sarah, and the child of promise, as distinguished from his descendants by a bondwoman, the illustration was not so clear: but Esau and Jacob, twin brothers of one mother; one chosen, the other passed by; one "loved, "the other hated;" the elder rejected, and the younger preferred; before either of them was born, or had done good or evil; was full to the point: and in fact lies open to all those specious, yet groundless, objections, which are made to personal election. It was "that the purpose of God concerning election might stand, not of "works, but of him that calleth."
P. ccxvii. 1. 18. 'The word, &c.* The words reprobate, and reprobation are never used in Scripture, in the sense, which many Calvinists have put upon them. This is, I believe, the general opinion of modern Calvinists. At least I can have no objection to the critical observations on this subject, contained in the following pages. 'Indeed the whole mass of them,' (the Jews,) 'was proved to be refuse metal, and not silver, as it
once appeared to be.' In this way, he,' (St. Paul,)
sought and possessed the assurance, that he should not, after having preached to others, (like the heralds who called the combatants to the conflict,) be himself ' rejected, as having no title to the incorruptible crown.' In righteous judgment, God "gave them up to a reprobate mind," that they should foolishly and perversely prefer the most shameful and pernicious prac'tices, to those which are decent, honourable, and becoming rational creatures.'-These false teachers ' withstood the truth, by deceiving men with a false 'pel, and various lying pretences: being corrupt and depraved in their minds, alienated from the faith of
• The word reprobate, or reprobation, as used by Calvin, refers to a supposed decree of God; but we shall find it used in a very different sense, both in the Old and New Testament.'